Saturday, February 27, 2010

BCP and BAS

Unlike some of my fellow parishioners, I don't believe that BCP is necessarily better. I would be quite averse to ordination with the BCP, at least to the priesthood, given the lack of explicit sacrificial intent. The BAS has also given us back rites such as the Imposition of Ashes, Chrismation, the liturgies of Holy Week, the sacrament of reconciliation outwith the context of Extreme Unction, and a daily lectionary for Mass. The various forms of the Canon of the Mass have an explicit epiclesis and oblation. Rubrical provision is made for the minor propers so that the congregation may indeed "sing the Mass" and not just "sing at Mass."

Full communion resources from the Lutherans give us opportunities to use the Asperges and the Litany of the Saints (duly reformed!) and a more breviary-style office for those who prefer it. I once attended Sung Matins in the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary's Keffer Memorial Chapel using the then brand new Evangelical Lutheran Worship (the "cranberry book"). Quite different from the BCP cathedral men and boys experience, but I loved the soaring Venite.

The BCP remains a rich treasury of prayers. The services of Morning and Evening Prayer, the Coverdale Psalter, the collects, and countless prayers for numerous occasions, are all laudably retained. Even its Communion Office has its own internal logic and integrity. So while I admire the convenience of the American prayer book, I remain a fan of our two-book system. I also firmly believe that the slender Canadian Book of Occasional Offices should be preserved, for such oddities as the Admission of Deaconesses and for sundry benedictions, dedications, and civic ceremonies, not to mention the setting apart to the minor ministries. And I still regard the Anglican Gradual and Sacramentary as the best expression of Catholic worship in conformity to the authorized service books of our provinces, although my colour scheme is largely indebted to the Use of Christminster.

1 comment:

aaronorear said...

My primary complaint with the BAS is not so much content as layout. It was clearly designed for the photocopier age, when everyone prints the entire liturgy in the bulletin. The physical BAS, the book itself, is essentially unusable in a congregation (seminaries, convents, priestly gatherings, etc. assume a degree of facility). Giving a page number for the fraction,, for instance, is inane since by the time the congregation finds it it's over. So we print it all in the bulletin.

The trouble I see with this is the ease with which all manner of frippery can be inserted into a fully printed bulletin. "Why not just slip in this prayer from a magazine I found in a hedge?" The book in the hands of the laity kept the clergy on the rails, as it were. The rails may have needed re-laying, but at least with a book in hand it's harder for the clergy to start praying from the Bhagavad Gita, or writing Eucharist prayers of dubious orthodoxy and wretched taste, as was happening in one of our congregations.

Whatever else EUCSA did with their BCP, they made it usable as a book.